BUCS leagues for the 2020/21 season will be held almost exclusively in Term 2, it was announced last Tuesday

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Images by Sophie Peck

In an announcement regarding the ‘Return to Play’ plan, university sport’s governing body revealed that ‘the majority of BUCS leagues will take place between January and April 2021.’

Due to the uncertainty surrounding how many sports teams universities will be able to field next season, there will be no promotion or relegation. Instead, the 2020/21 campaign will be a ‘bridging season,’ with league creation for 2021/22 will be determined by results from the 2019/20 campaign.

BUCS added: ‘The decision to focus on Term 2 is a result of feedback from our members, who want to be able to support students in their preparation for returning to competitive team sport.’

Several UoB sporting events, such as XpLosION, are typically held in Term 1 and will now almost certainly be postponed or cancelled.

A further update on Thursday stated that the ‘Return to Play’ process has engaged over ‘300 staff and students from over 140 institutions.

Among those institutions is the University of Birmingham. Josh Dooler, Guild Sports Officer and the West Midlands’ BUCS student chair, told Redbrick ‘[BUCS] are trying to be as flexible as possible to allow students to play sport next year because it is such a huge part of the student experience.’

BUCS are ‘still including Term 1 dates within our planning,’ in the hope that some sport can restart before the new year.

However, speaking to Redbrick, they reiterated that ‘the existing competition programmes and structures are likely to change quite significantly for the 2020-21 season.’

I can certainly see individual events in sports such as athletics, archery and golf taking place [sooner]

This is far more likely for low-contact sports, with Dooler saying ‘I can certainly see individual events in sports such as athletics, archery and golf taking place [sooner] due to the lower risk with social distancing but contact sports might take longer.’

The only sport to be held in full outside Term 2 is outdoor cricket, which will remain in Term 3 as normal. However, Dooler assured that other sports, such as athletics, ‘will certainly take place in that summer term.’

Term 1 will be reserved almost solely for training within government guidelines, and Dooler believes ‘the number of times each club trains per week might have to be reduced to allow as many students as possible to access the facilities.’

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